Angad Bhalla

40 Years in Solitary? New Documentary Interrogates America's Nightmare System of Punishment

Herman Wallace may be the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States: he’s spent more than 40 years in a six-by-nine-foot cell in Louisiana. Imprisoned in 1967 for a robbery for which he admits guilt, he was subsequently sentenced to life in prison for a killing he vehemently denies committing. My documentary film, Herman’s House, recounts the remarkable expression his struggle found in an unusual project proposed by then New York-based artist Jackie Sumell, who invited Wallace to imagine his “dream home.” The undertaking quickly became an interrogation of justice and punishment in America.

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